Councillors will hear a report on the improving state of County Durham’s roads at a meeting of Durham County Council’s Cabinet next week.
The report gives the annual update on the council’s Transport Asset Management Plan (TAMP) and outlines the increased investment and reduction in the maintenance backlog for the county’s roads.
The maintenance backlog has now dropped to £179.7m with the condition of the council’s A, B and C roads having improved and now rated as close to the national average and its structures such as bridges and tunnels generally in ‘good to fair’ condition.
Cllr Brian Stephens, Cabinet member for neighbourhoods and local partnerships, said: “Durham, like most places throughout the country, has more demands on highways than there are resources to maintain and improve them.
“But despite unprecedented reductions in government funding since 2010, we have continued to prioritise investment in our programmed capital maintenance and have increased our investment in this from £0.7m in 2010/11 to £7.5m in 2018/19.”
Alongside its own investment, the council received £11.9m from the Department for Transport in 2018/19 making a total budget for programmed capital maintenance work of approximately £24m.
Across the county, the council maintains 3,792 kilometres of carriageway, 489 road bridges and 83,676 street columns.
The highway network is used every day by nearly all County Durham residents and businesses together with many visitors. It is therefore fundamental to economic and social activity in County Durham.
Since 2018, the council has been working in partnership with Rainton Construction and MacRebur on trialling plastic roads.
So far 22,477 metres squared have been resurfaced using single use plastics including sections of the A689 at Sedgefield, the A68 at Toft Hill and sections in Murton.
These were the first trials in the North East and the largest undertaken nationally at the time.
The council has so far used 100 tonnes of plastic on its roads which is the equivalent of over 900,000 plastic shopping bags, helping contribute to the council’s pledge to divert plastics that are difficult to recycle from incineration and landfill and reduce its carbon emissions.
The council will be using plastic on all its upcoming resurfacing work across the county and continues to review opportunities for further improvement and innovation including the use of new materials.
Cllr Stephens added: “We are committed to maintaining and improving our county’s roads and our long-term Transport Asset Management Plan ensures that our roads are in the best possible condition for the budget we have available.
“We aim to ensure a safe, serviceable and sustainable highway network is available to our residents and visitors, playing a key part in the economic and social activity across the county.”